EPA launches new smog standard review

By Sean Reilly | 05/13/2024 04:07 PM EDT

Hovering over the review is disagreement over whether the status quo is adequate or a stronger limit is needed.

A traffic sign warns of ozone.

A traffic sign warns of ozone July 23, 2021, in Denver. David Zalubowski/AP

EPA plunged into a potentially far-reaching review of a key air pollution standard Monday after a more limited assessment fell apart last year.

“This is obviously an important meeting,” Chris Frey, assistant administrator of EPA’s Office of Research and Development, told participants at the beginning of a four-day virtual workshop this week dedicated to a variety of issues surrounding ground-level ozone.

Topics to be covered include an overview of ozone’s health and environmental effects and the compound’s role as a greenhouse gas, according to an agenda. EPA will then incorporate feedback from workshop panelists and the public in devising a review plan and roundup of the relevant scientific research, Frey said.


Ozone, the main ingredient in smog, is a lung-damaging irritant tied to asthma attacks in children and worsened breathing problems in people suffering from emphysema and other chronic respiratory diseases. Under the Clean Air Act, it is among a half-dozen pollutants covered by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards that EPA must periodically review in light of the latest scientific research into their health and environmental effects.